The novel that won: the Runeberg Prize 2012

9 February 2012 | In the news

Katja Kettu. Photo: WSOY

The Runeberg Prize for fiction, awarded this year for the twenty-sixth time, went to Katja Kettu for her third novel, Kätilö (‘The midwife’, WSOY).

Kettu (born 1978) is a writer and director of animated films. The prize, worth €10,000, was awarded on 5 February – the birthday of the poet J.L Runeberg (1804–1877) – in the southern Finnish city of Porvoo.

The jury – representing the prize’s founders, the Uusimaa newspaper, the city of Porvoo, both the Finnish and Finland-Swedish writers’ associations and the Finnish Critics’ Association – chose the winner from a shortlist of eight books. The jury was particularly impressed by the rich language of Kettu’s novel, set in the Lapp War of 1944–45, and the colourful portrayal of the characters.

The other seven finalists were a collection of essays and poems, Magnetmemoarerna, by Ralf Andtbacka (‘Magnet memoirs’, Ellips), the novel Tusenblad, en kvinna som snubblar (‘Millefeuille, the woman who stumbles’, Schildts), the novel Gisellen kuolema (‘Giselle’s death’, Robustos) by Siiri Eloranta, two collections of poems, Aallonmurtaja (‘The breakwater’, Otava) by Pauliina Haasjoki and De bronsblå solarna (‘The bronze-blue suns’, Söderströms) by Kurt Högnäs, a collection of short stories by Joni Pyysalo, entitled Ja muita novelleja (‘And other stories’, WSOY) and the novel Paljain käsin (‘With bare hands’, Gummerus) by Essi Tammimaa.